When Is Coffee Not Really Coffee?

xPICT6714I feel bad for what I’m about to say about this coffee, because it was a gift.
Oh well.  I have to be honest.
If you like Southern Comfort liquor in your coffee, then this stuff is for you.  After you brew it up, it tastes EXACTLY like you’d just dumped two jiggers of the stuff into your coffee.
The flavor emulation is perfect, but alas, without the payoff of an alcoholic kick.
Don’t get me wrong.  I like Southern Comfort.  I just don’t like it in my coffee.
Why?  Because I like the taste of coffee.  No, more than like.  I love it.  I love the taste of coffee.
When you trash mess up destroy change the taste of coffee so much that you really can’t taste a coffee flavor anymore, is it really coffee?
Seriously, I want to know.  Because I don’t think it is.  It may have been once, but like a mad scientist changing an animal’s DNA, what you end up with is a mutant.  Something different.
Even as flavored coffees go, this one makes me … ill.

Hello Boss Iced Coffee

Oh my God this is horrible.
It’s so horrible it’s like watching a disaster movie. You can’t tear your eyes away. It’s like watching a boulder crushing cars and houses.
I’m having problems controlling my gag reflex.  Seriously.  I can’t drink it.
Yes, it’s that vile.  That is my opinion.  That’s my review, short and sweet.
I cannot finish drinking it.  I’m throwing it away.
Avoid this swill. It’s not groovy, not at all.

Super Coffee Mix Blue Mountain Blend

Another one of the cans of coffee my daughters picked up for me at the Asian market, the actual full name of this is Super Coffee Mix (brand) Blue Mountain Blend Premium Super Gold Coffee.
Made in Malaysia.
Man, you know this has got to be wonderful stuff, just by reading the product title. Not only is it a super coffee mix, and not only have they used the term “blue mountain,” but they have proclaimed it Premium Super Gold Coffee.
They used “super” twice. It’s Super Super Coffee.
I can only thank God it’s a tiny little can. I know this is going to be awful.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t have antifreeze in it.
I pop the top. I take a sniff. It’s amazing.
Yes, amazing. Amazing how stale a tinned coffee can smell. It takes staleness to a new height. It must be super super premium goldenly stale.
I have to admit I’m a little frightened of drinking it. I hope you guys out there appreciate me putting my life on the line like this for your amusement. Here goes nothing.
Okay, I’m surprised, it wasn’t half bad. It was in fact just as good as Godiva’s bottled coffee (yuck) and it went down smooth enough. It was much better than Hello Boss Cappuccino.
But, one thing I really did not like about it, was finding a piece of rice in my mouth afterward.
I hope it was a piece of rice. I looked at it closely under a bright light, and it didn’t appear to be a bug.
Not groovy.

Hello Boss Cappuccino

A long time ago, in a town far, far away, deep within the strange recesses of a damaged food warehouse, I discovered my first canned coffee drink.

It was “Hello Boss” coffee, a product of Taiwan. I had to buy it out of pure curiosity. I remember liking it more for the novelty than the taste.

Now you’ll find canned and bottled coffee everywhere, most of it pretty awfulbut occasionally excellent — and there is no novelty involved.

Still, deep within the recesses of an Asian market, my daughters found for me cans of coffee they’d never seen before. And, thus, Hello Boss coffee reentered my life.

Let’s not mince words, here. It’s awful. Hello Boss Cappuccino tastes of cold instant coffee left overnight, mixed with the cheapest powdered creamer available to man, and leaves you with a taste that warns of the coffee itself having dissolved part of the can it came in … and you just drank it.

Not groovy. Not in the least.

Great Value 100% Arabica

I didn’t go into this one automatically thinking it’s crap.
Wal-Mart’s “Great Value” generic products are usually high quality. Their bottled water is perfectly good, and their cereals, breads, and canned goods sometimes equal or surpass the name brands. So I thought, let’s give one of their coffees a shot. Who knows, I may be surprised.
So early this morning, before the kids were awake, I brewed a cup.
Notice it says 100% Arabica? That should count for something, right? They also had a French Roast that said it was 100% Arabica, but then they had a can of “100% Columbian” that stated nothing of the sort. Which means, of course, it’s not 100% Arabica. Which means it’s cut with Robusta beans.
Robusta beans are evil. EVIL.
So I take my first sip of Great Value 100% Arabica and taste … what?
Um. Oh my. Um.
Flashback to childhood. I’m a little kid, and the bad girl next door has taught me a new word. “Fart.” I remember playing with my dog Pepper, and he let off a stink bomb, and I exclaimed, “Pepper let a fart!”
My mom was for some reason quite upset at the word fart coming out of her little boy’s mouth, and proceeded to drag me into the bathroom where she washed my mouth out with a blue bar of Zest soap.
That’s what this coffee tastes like to me. Soap. And, no I checked, my cup was not contaminated nor was my Hotshot water boiler, nor was my little cup-top filter.
This coffee, which is not really that bad in any other way, has a distinctly soapy tang to it.
And that, my friends, is not groovy.

Toulouse Caffe

They started with some good beans.
It seems to me everything went downhill from there.
I did everything I could to brew this coffee so that the flavor would come out. I think I succeeded to some extent. You can taste underlying quality, and the ghost of a pleasant, full bodied roast.
Sadly this taste is veiled behind curtains of staleness. To me it tastes not only stale but somewhat sour. Not sour as in it’s gone bad and is going to kill me, but the taste itself has soured. It’s an aluminum can taste, mixed with shredded old socks and perhaps a pinch of vacuum bag dirt.
Seriously, this stuff is turning my stomach. I can’t even finish it. I’m dumping the rest down the sink.
You may see this in your hotel room. You may see it in on a bottom shelf at your supermarket. You may find it in the garbage.
If you do, leave it there.

Hillside Coffee and their Hot Cans of Doom

At a local store I came across something I’d heard about but never seen. Canned coffee in self-heating cans.
Hillside Coffee, which comes in a coffee-mug shaped can with molded plastic lid and everything, has a chemical heating plant built right into the bottom. How cool is that? I had to pick up a couple just to try them.
Well, the next morning, I diligently read the instructions and proceeded to heat one up. It was a Mocha Latte. I had my reservations about the taste, but hey … I’m a guy, and it’s a gadget.
It felt like a new toy. I wanted to play.
How it works is you turn it over, and pull off a metal lid that’s much like popping the top off of canned pudding. Underneath is a plastic membrane with a button in the middle. You push the button down, which breaks an internal seal and mixes the chemicals. Six minutes later your coffee is hot.
Not warm. Hot!
After it’s hot, the directions say to shake it up to make sure the coffee, milk, sugar, etc., is all mixed, and then you pop the top like a soda can. So I shook it up, twisted the molded lid so it was aligned, and opened it. Sure enough the coffee-like substance was indeed hot. It was, I’d say, the perfect temperature.
The taste was far from perfect. The “milk” part of the latte tasted like powdered milk. The sugar was … well, there was too much of it. The coffee had the definite dilution tang that hinted of reconstituted instant. On top of that, you could taste the metal from the can.
I’m not really slamming Hillside, because you know it’s got to be hard to produce “coffee” in quantity and have it even taste somewhat like coffee. I mean, I tried one of the Godiva bottles of “coffee” the day before and it tasted just as bad.
[By the way, Godiva, stick to chocolate. M’kay?]
So, despite all this, it is drinkable after a fashion, especially because it’s in such a cool self-heating can. Not only do I finish this one, but I open the other one I bought, heating it up, etc.
This is where I ran into a problem.
After heating, remember, you’re supposed to shake it before opening the top. So it’s nice and hot, and I decide it’s ready, and I start shaking it. To my dismay I’m suddenly covered in liquid, and … it’s burning me!
That’s right. The bottom had sprung a leak! I was now covered in whatever chemical they were using to heat the can.
I made my way directly to the shower and rinsed myself off, clothes and all. Fortunately I hadn’t gotten any into my eyes — though it did come close — and I didn’t seem to have come to any harm. There were only a few spots — on my cheek, on my right index finger, and on the back of my left hand — that seemed red and irritated. But it was all very minor and at the time of this writing I’m completely fine.
It’s a good thing, though, I was at home and not on some fishing trip. I can see me jumping into a lake because of a chemical accident caused by a self-heating coffee can. You’d better believe the lawsuits would be flying. As it is, I’m willing to forgive but not forget. This article is a public warning, and a notice to Hillside Coffee that they have some quality control issues.

Hotel Coffee from Hell

Riding along on the tail of Office Coffee from Hell is its twin brother, hotel room coffee.
Usually this is slightly better than the office coffee, but suffers from the same problems.
It’s a questionable blend, often including Robusta beans. It’s usually quite old and stale, having set in a warehouse for years. And, they never provide enough to make a decent pot of coffee.
Once upon a time, some hotel somewhere had this great idea of putting a coffee pot into every room, and the idea was such a hit that all the other hotels cursed and kicked the dirt and grudgingly did the same. Painful as it was to them — as it no doubt cut into their profit margin — they had no choice because customers are a fickle lot. They for some reason like the idea that someone might actually care about them, and want to cater to their needs.
So all the other hotels said, “Okay! Fine! We’ll put a stupid coffee pot in the rooms.” And they did, but then searched far and wide for the cheapest possible coffee on the planet to go with them. That coffee, of course, sucks. It tastes like hot muddy water with ground up porcelain and a dash of mold.
Yet, if you go down to the lobby, these very same hotels usually serve very good coffee during their free continental breakfast — which they were forced to provide because some hotel, somewhere, started the trend. And you know all these hotels curse that fact as well.
Unless you want to actually bring your own coffee, my suggestion is to take your empty pot down to the continental breakfast and fill it up and take it back to your room.
And take that nasty bag of so-called “coffee” they provided, write NO THANK YOU on it with a large permanent marker, and leave it at the front desk as a reminder that people really don’t appreciate crap.

Office Coffee from Hell

What’s wrong with this picture?
This, my friends, is a sack of old, stale ground coffee. Lord knows how old, and no one knows what’s in it. There is no list of ingredients. My guess by the taste is that it’s at least 50% Robusta beans, maybe more.
Robusta beans suck even if they’re fresh.
If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s about 1/3 of what it takes to make a pot of coffee in this bag, but the instructions say to use this one bag to make 12 cups of coffee.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the reason corporate office coffee tastes so awful. Most corporations only grudgingly provide free coffee to the employees, and in doing so, want to spend as little as they can. Their solution is to hire a coffee service, such as this one, to provide this coffee.
This company, themselves, want to make as much profit as humanly possible from this so-called service.
What do you end up with? Something that in my opinion tastes like dirt mixed with crushed bugs.
I’ve tried to improve the taste. I’ve tried brewing it stronger. It didn’t help — this coffee is a lost cause. The only way to make it drinkable is to add a significant amount of sweetener, and flavorings, and creamer.
This is American corporate office coffee from Hell.

World Market Chocolate Turtle

My well-meaning daughter picked this up whilst out shopping: World Market Chocolate Turtle Coffee. It’s pre-ground flavored coffee.
I like many of World Market’s products, and while I’m not a huge fan of flavored coffees, I do like some of them. However, you would think that they would know that turtles don’t taste good, and not put them into coffee.
This actually tastes like they ground up a turtle’s shell and mixed it right in. Seriously. There’s this odd aftertaste of old ground-up bone, which is probably just a tang of staleness picked up by the coffee as it sat in a warehouse for seven years.
I’ve had canned coffee that tastes better than this stuff. I’ve had instant coffee that tastes better. The hint of coco that makes the “chocolate” in the “chocolate turtle,” even that tastes stale.
It could be that this was just a bad lot. It could be that this usually tastes fine. But unfortunately this one didn’t.
If World Market wants to send me a fresh batch to try, and I like it better, I’ll revise my opinion. Until then I have no choice but to advise people to avoid it.

Casa Coffee Blue Mountain

“Casa Coffee. Truly pleasure in a cup.” That’s what it says. It’s made in Taiwan.

I discovered this interesting coffee at the local Chinatown market, and was intrigued more by the packaging than anything else. What you get is a six serving pack, each envelope containing a clever little one cup filter system and a (too small) packet of coffee. You unfold the packet and it hangs at the top of the cup, the top of the filter open, and you aim the water at the opening.

It works exactly like the little cup-top filtration maker I swear by. Works quite well, too. Kudos to the package designers, it’s a neat little gadget.

As for the taste, I wasn’t expecting much, and I was right. Have you ever sprayed bug poison in the air and accidently gotten a bit of it in your mouth?
That’s what the taste of this coffee brought to my mind. Bug spray.
While it didn’t say one way or the other, I suspect 100% Robusta beans. Yeah. That bad.
The concept is great, but they need twice as much coffee for a decent cup, as well as a decent coffee to begin with. What I’m going to do with the five remaining packs is dump their disgusting coffee grinds out and use my own.